OAKLAND -- The Raiders are truly sorry.
Sorry they lost their third consecutive game by giving up an avalanche of points, this time by the score of 38-17 to the New Orleans Saints at O.co Coliseum on Sunday.
Sorry they allowed the game to turn for good on big plays at the tail end of the first half and the first play of the second half.
Sorry they let down a rabid fan base, with a crowd of 56,880 forgiven for venting its frustration during the second half.
Even owner Mark Davis appeared in the locker room to offer an apology and concede his embarrassment over a 3-7 record and three consecutive defeats during which the Raiders have given up an average of 45 points per game.
"We had a great crowd today; they were into it," Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said. "We let ourselves down, we let them down by not playing up to our potential by getting beat the way we did."
The game was statistically deceiving in that the Raiders outgained the Saints 404-382, but New Orleans quickly jumped to a 14-0 lead and took charge in the third quarter.
Quarterback Drew Brees completed 20 of 27 passes for 219 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Mark Ingram raced 27 yards for a third-quarter touchdown and led a running game that had 153 yards on 28 carries -- 98 coming in the second half while protecting a lead.
It was the fifth win in six games for the Saints after an 0-4 start and a portrait of two teams headed in opposite directions. At 5-5, New Orleans can legitimately talk about a playoff run.
"We're on our way," Brees said. "Winning five of six with the schedule we had in front of us, a lot of people would have said that's pretty unrealistic."
The Raiders? They'll talk about it, and might even believe it. It's the job of a professional athlete to think anything is possible.
Marcel Reece, who rushed for a career-high 103 yards on 19 carries and whose 56-yard reception set up their first touchdown, bristled at the suggestion of it being a rebuilding year.
"There's no such thing as a rebuild year," Reece said. "This is a business. If you rebuild it, you get out. We're going out there trying to win. We're shooting to win out the rest of the season; that's the bottom line."
Breakdowns came in all three phases for the Raiders, who were without running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, defensive tackle Richard Seymour and strong safety Tyvon Branch, the team's leading tackler.
Coach Dennis Allen insists there has been improvement, even if the results haven't shown it.
"We have to continue to work to get better," Allen said. "Obviously we've sustained some injuries, and we knew going into the season that depth was a challenge. We're seeing some of that a little bit. But our guys are coming to battle. They're continuing to fight, and that's what we've got to do."
Palmer completed 22 of 40 passes for 312 yards, a 1-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Myers and a 3-yard, too-little, too-late flip to Juron Criner. Two interceptions were huge, both on passes intended for Myers.
Trailing 7-0, Palmer attempted to force a ball to Myers, but the Saints' Malcolm Jenkins got there first and ran it back 55 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
On the first series of the second quarter, with the Raiders trailing by that margin, Palmer drove the Raiders to the New Orleans 7. On third-and-goal, Palmer's pass bounced off Myers and into the arms of Roman Harper for an interception.
Allen cited a 38-yard strike from Brees to Lance Moore with 48 seconds left in the first half -- cornerback Michael Huff was victimized on a double move -- and a 75-yard kickoff return to open the second half by Travaris Cadet to open the second half as game-changers.
Ingram scored from 27 yards out on the first play after the kickoff return for a 28-7 lead.
"That was really the biggest difference in the game," Allen said.